By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Buckingham departs

You may have forgotten this, but Virginia Buckingham’s arrival at the Herald was controversial. A Massachusetts Republican operative, she’d been in charge of Logan Airport on Sept. 11, 2001. So when she began working as deputy editorial-page editor at the Herald in January 2003, she was greeted with a petition, signed by 40 of her new colleagues, that referred to her partisan background as an “embarrassment,” and by questions as to whether she could ever be tough enough on the folks with whom she had once served.

When I checked in on her, 10 months later, she’d done a pretty good job of answering her critics. Buckingham switched to column-writing in 2005, which gave her more of an identity. But her timing was lousy. The paper was shrinking and loading up on gossip and flash, and there just didn’t seem to be much room for a cautious, moderate voice.

Now Buckingham is leaving to become a lobbyist for Pfizer. Her last column appears today. I like this:

The first thing I’ve learned that government officials should understand about the media is that having a bias is not the same as having an agenda. The issue of liberal or conservative bias in the media is way overplayed. Journalists are human and bring their life experiences to their job. How could they not? But Herald State House reporters are no more looking to uncover a Patrick administration scandal than the Globe was looking for a Romney one. Both are looking for stories — good stories (which, granted, are often scandals) that will interest readers, shed some light on how government works and, as an added benefit, maybe help someone out, like a family that’s about to lose their home. Journalists aren’t cheerleaders but most are equal-opportunity critics, no matter their own political ideology.

She’s also got some worthwhile things to say about cheap-shot artists in the media and a journalistic aversion to nuance.

I wish Buckingham well, although, considering who her new employer is, not at the expense of consumers and taxpayers.

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  1. Scott Allen Miller

    Ginny Buckingham is going to lobby for Viagra?

  2. Anonymous

    Funny how George Stephanopolos wasn’t quite so “controversial” (outside of right-wing blogs) when he went to ABC…..

  3. Dan Kennedy

    It’s my memory that Stephanopoulos was extremely controversial, and is still attacked regularly for his ties to Clinton.

  4. Tony

    Absolutely! Stephie was HAMMERED over and over and over again for being the Clinton spokesperson and yet, I bet when the Bush Admin finally ends, and Tony Snow his released from his duties, he’ll end up back and FoxNews and no one will say jack about it.

  5. Amusedbutinformedobserver

    Give me a break. Most of her columns were little more than an outlet for the political prattle of her right-wing judge husband, David Lowy of the Superior Court. Just read a few of the columns and compare the style — it’s fairly clear that all were not written by the same person.

  6. Anonymous

    Tony,I hope you are right but Snow’s prospects are considerably different from your prediction.

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